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The Hare & the Line is the second full-length release from Dublin-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Inni-K (real name Eithne Ní Chatháin). Four years on from her debut album, The King Has Two Horse’s Ears, her music and lyrics alike have continued to grow in complexity and profundity.
Though firmly rooted in the contemporary indie folk genre, there is an interesting juxtaposition of approaches on The Hare & the Line. Particularly when it comes to song arrangement. The minimal ‘What’s In the Bag Love?’ sees Ní Chatháin’s engrossing, warm vocal backed only by simple, sustained piano chords and muted drums. While album closer ‘Ón Radharc is Sia’ stretches and builds at a suitable walking pace.
Most impressive on The Hare & the Line, however, is the inclusion of the Irish language on the aforementioned track, as well as the stark, free-form departure well past the album’s midpoint, ‘Póirste Béil’. The latter is as much an exercise in polyrhythm and timbre as an expression of appreciation for our native tongue.
On the whole, The Hare & the Line rewards repeat listens. With contrasting moods, shifts and textures across ten tracks, the flow of the album can take some getting used to. By the time we reach the album’s clear centrepiece Just After, it’s all easy listening; the song itself a tender yet poignant articulation of the loss of a loved one. Over a wash of dreamy synths and sparse soundscapes, Ní Chatháin coos:
“I stood outside your room, while the nurses did what they do”
The Hare & the Line is the sound of an artist growing in confidence and maturing as a songwriter. Inni-K is developing with respect to lyrics, musical style, and overall song craft. Though at times a challenging listen, due mostly to the track sequencing working against the subtle diversity of the song arrangements, there is still plenty to enjoy and appreciate here.